Thomas N. L. Cunnyngham, an eminent barrister of Dayton, is a native of Rhea County, Tenn., born six miles north of Dayton, August 30, 1840. His parents, Wiley H. and Elvina (Locke) Cunnyngham, were both of Scotch-Irish descent, and natives of Tennessee. The father was born in Monroe County, Tenn., about 1810 and died in Rhea County, September 22, 1862. The mother was born February 6, 1817, is still living, and is a resident of Rhea County. They were married in Rhea County, near Washington, about 1836, and since 1844 Rhea County has been their permanent home. The father was engaged in agricultural pursuits, was justice of the peace the greater part of his life, and was a tax collector of Rhea County several terms. He was an old line Whig, and a worthy member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The mother came of a distinguished family in Rhea County. Her parents were John and Jane Locke. The father was one of the pioneers of Rhea County, and filled the office of circuit court clerk of Rhea County for a number of years. He died in 1840, his wife having died previous to this. Judge Locke, for many years an eminent lawyer and judge of Rhea County, was a brother to the mother of Thomas N. L. Our subject is one of nine children. He secured a liberal education and farming had been his chief occupation up to 1867, at which time he commenced the study of law under Capt. S. J. Frazier and Judge Frank Locke. He obtained his license to practice in the latter part of 1868, and since that date his name has been on the roll of Tennessee attorneys. Previous to this, September 29, 1859, he had married Miss Lorinda J. Smith, a native of Rhea County, Tenn., born April 25, 1842. She died February 26, 1883. October 11, 1883, Mr. Cunnyngham married Miss Kittie J. Coulter, daughter of Gen. T. J. Coulter. By the first union our subject became the father of seven children – four sons and three daughters – one son deceased. To the last marriage was born two daughters, one deceased. In 1884 he came to Dayton. Since the latter part of 1885 he has been a member of the United States Law Association. He has been quite successful in the practice of his profession, and is now associated in the practice of law with R. A. Smith. He is a decided Democrat, and a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, serving the church as ruling elder over fifteen years. His present wife is a member of the same church, as was also his first wife. Mr. Cunnyngham drew up the charter to incorporate the town of Dayton, in April, 1885, and served as mayor from April, 1885 to April, 1886. He then served one year as recorder and treasurer, and was also at the same time tax collector of said town.
Published by The Goodspeed Publishing Co 1887